Party Down, “Nick DiCintio’s Orgy Night”

Party Down is one of my favorite comedies and I’ve been watching season two regularly, but didn’t really get around to recapping the first two episodes for WEEKEND Watchers. However, I figured the more content the better here at the new digs, so I’ll go over some thoughts about the first two episodes and push on to “Nick DiCintio’s Orgy Night,” the strongest effort of this still-new second season.

Reading over critical thought on the first batch of season two episodes, I can’t say I disagree with much of it. The first two episodes were certainly funny in their own right, but not up to the series’ highest potential. However, there were a number of pieces that had to be moved around before the Party Down staff could get back into the groove of screwing things up. Ron had to be brought back into the fold and then struggle with his new position as basic team member. Casey had to return as well, and Megan Mullally’s Lydia had to be worked into the cast as well.

After two episodes, which were admittedly funny, it seems like the proverbial band is back together as best as it can be. Ron’s more okay with Henry as team leader, Casey and Henry have moved passed some of the unnecessary TV relationship awkwardness and Lydia had her best moments in “Nick DiCintio’s Orgy Night.” It felt like the previous two episodes were more solid than normal storytelling-wise, but didn’t quite match things on the humor front.

And to be honest, I don’t totally care about the “story” on Party Down, I’d almost prefer episodes like “Orgy Night” that introduce kooky party ideas and let the talented cast members do their thing for 27 minutes.

The more open feeling of this episode always allowed for all the cast members to get their own little stories, so it was nice to see Mullally not make an absolute fool of herself and have Ryan Hansen’s Kyle have a mini-career crisis that forced Roman to awkwardly make him feel better. The orgy brought a number of built-in jokes, but can’t not mention Thomas Lennon, who had wonderful chemistry with Martin Starr. It seems like Roman’s gotten more to do this season than just about anyone at least in terms of interaction with the party guests.

Adam Scott and Ken Marino work so well as a comedic duo and usually they have such a set relationship — Marino the over-the-top one, Scott the straight man — so when it gets a little mixed up like it was here thanks to alcohol and a general frustration with women, it was wonderful to see. We all know Scott can be outwardly funny without the sarcastic, dry smart-ass wit, and he showed just a little of that here.

Comedy is so subjective and so we might all feel differently about the way certain jokes hit, which is why I don’t usually write about comedy. But it’s Party Down, man.

Grade: A-

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